She : Acha aap Madrasi ho? (Oh! Are you a Madrasi?)
Me : Hey you ! I am not a Madrasi, I am from Kerala NOT Madras for a millionth time!
She : Yeah whatever, South Indian right?
Me : *FACEPALM*
I have probably spent half my life proving to everyone that I am not from Madras which is now recognized as Chennai, but from Kerala. Oh Yes, Madras is the biggest city in South India (some may argue Bangalore, but let me go by the sources I found) but definitely not the ONLY city in South. It covers Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Telangana adding to the list.
Another reason for people being referred as ‘Madrasis’ is because the entire area came under the Madras Presidency during the pre-Independence era and its inhabitants were THEN referred to as ‘Madrasis’
According to every Non-South Indian there exists only one language that is spoken across South, ‘Madrasi’. As a proud South Indian let me clear the doubts of millions with this misconception. First and foremost, ‘Madrasi’ is NOT language! To specify, citizens of Kerala speak Malayalam, people of Tamil Nadu, Tamil and Karnataka, Kannada.
Secondly, these are NOT the same and does not sound the same too! I could prove this by giving the example that it sounds equally different as Bihari and Punjabi or Marathi and Bengali. To give you all a very good idea about how different languages are in every part of South India.
Not to forget the most talked about fact every South Indian could not probably hear anymore is that, it seems Idli and Sambhar becomes the national food for South Indians and it becomes necessary to have it for breakfast, sorry to say but we relish our taste buds with a variety of other delicacies from across the globe. Then comes a whole lot of friends who gather around you every time you open your lunch box hoping that it is the only food cooked in our home an entire lifetime.
Over the years people have formed a definite image of the South Indians which is ridiculously aggravating, to say the least. Bollywood has a big part in exaggerating the stereotypes against South Indians.
So, the next time you attempt to call your South Indian friend a ‘Madrasi’ remember that all 220 million of us Dravidians are collectively laughing at your ignorance – in a language you can never understand.
Let me be clear : Yes I am South Indian. No, I am not a Madrasi.